At The Margin
Vol. 4, Issue 1 (Whole Issue #36)
March 31, 2003

Matters, many bizarre and obscure, from the world of books.

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Note, everything in this issue, except the guest article (number one) is written by Floyd Kemske, who is the "I" sometimes referred to.

Disclosure: If you click on a link associated with a book title in this newsletter, your browser will take you to a page for that book at powells.com, the bookseller. If you then purchase the book, 10% of your purchase price is remitted to At The Margin, which is the publication's only source of income. "No link" means the book is out of stock at powells.com at the time the issue was written.

This Issue:
1. Rutgers University Press: A Book Dealer's View by Tom Owen
2. Left Behind -- to Be Targeted by Spammers
3. Production Notes and Personal Stuff
4. Blue Underlined Words
5. Email to the Editor
6. Do You Know Me?

1. Rutgers University Press:
a Book Dealer's View
by Tom Owen
For some reason the idea of Rutgers University has always amused me. They're in New Jersey, which as a location for most things strikes me as entertaining. Also, Rutgers sounds like rugby, which is funny, and guess what -- the editorial offices of Rutgers University Press are on Joyce Kilmer Avenue. Oh, help me off the floor.

But if one is considering RUP from the viewpoint of a collector and bookdealer, they're kind of interesting. Founded in 1937, the press has been chugging along putting out books on different subjects for years and years. Not surprisingly they do books about New Jersey -- the archaeology of New Jersey, the diners of New Jersey, even the best fishin' holes of New Jersey. Mosquitoes of New Jersey fetches a good price. They also do books in anthropology, evolution, psychology, and other ologies, art, the politically correct B&W (blacks and women), and other areas. They publish books on such areas of history as Asian Americans and on the Revolutionary War (more New Jersey titles there). They still produce some interesting books on film, and actually have at least three different series on women.

They also did a series on classic screenplays (including Birth of a Nation, La Strada, and The Maltese Falcon). Each volume in the series had a complete screenplay, a biography of the film's director, and critical discussion of the film. They don't seem to be continuing the series, so the books may be even more collectible now than when they were when published.

If you're old enough, you may recall a dividend from book clubs, The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln in nine volumes. That was their project and copies of the true first edition in very good condition actually go for thousands of dollars. Even sets of the book club edition in excellent shape are offered for several hundred dollars, but in anything less than very good shape the prices get rather low. Lincoln seems to have been a subject of theirs starting in the 1940s and continuing up to the present day. They did a number of titles, some now as common as dirt, like The Lincoln Reader, and others rarer and pricier (Lincoln in Marble and Bronze is a study of statues of Lincoln).

One interesting facet is that they've done limited editions of a number of works. Orson Welles: the Chimes Ring at Midnight was only done in a 500-copy hardcover edition (I've got one, I think). The Management of the Bob White Quail has a signed and limited edition that fetchs high prices, and a more common regular edition. They don't seem to do much fiction, which may be a sign of good management, though the William Faulkner work, New Orleans Sketches, gets good prices, and they did several John Ciardi poetry books in the 1950s and 60s that aren't too shabby, either.

If you're thinking of buying some publication of theirs for resale, the basics always apply: great condition, low expense, and interesting subject. That met, then it seems worthwhile to keep an eye out for them, and go to their website to check out what they're currently doing.

Tom Owen has worked for decades at Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop on Newbury Street in Boston. He is also the proprietor of Lazy River Books, a mail-order bookseller of unusual fiction and nonfiction "in every field and genre" (http://www.abebooks.com/home/LAZYRIVER/.) He is a frequent contributor to At The Margin.

2. Left Behind -- to Be Targeted by Spammers
Every day my in-box brings messages offering cut-rate printer ink cartridges, ways to find singles in my area, schemes for becoming debt-free, promises to make a fortune by helping some corrupt Nigerian get out of the country with a lot of ill-gotten loot, help in tracing my family tree, and pills to increase the size of my penis. I receive 30-50 such messages per day. They all have two things in common: 1) I'm not interested in them, and 2) I didn't ask to receive them.

They are what is known as spam.

I read somewhere that the origin of the name "spam" for unsolicited commercial email messages was a Monty Python sketch in which a chorus (of Vikings or lumberjacks, I can't remember which) sings, "Spam spam spam spam. Spam spam spam spam." I don't know if the story is true, but I remember hearing the song, and I think if these messages were audible as they came marching into my mailbox, they would sound a lot like those Vikings (or lumberjacks).

Only fools respond to spam. But spammers don't need more than a handful of responses for every million or so solicitations to make spamming worth their while. Spam costs next to nothing for the sender. The costs are all borne by the recipient, either directly or indirectly, because all internet users pay for bandwidth, one way or another.

There are of course more than a handful of fools in the world.

I tried to devise ways to keep the stuff out of my in-box. I examined it for common words and common return addresses, then I used my email program's rules to route the messages to a "Spam" folder that I could examine at my leisure. But spam seems to be remarkably self-adaptive, and as my rules multiplied, more and more spam seemed to dodge them.

I finally gave up on my own rules and tried out a piece of software called SpamSieve, which uses Bayesian filtering. The key to Bayesian filtering is that it is self-adpative, which allows it to stay ahead of the mutating spam. I spent about a week "training" it, and now I'm down to one piece of spam in my in-box about every other day. Everything else is routed to the "Spam" folder, where I can review it once a day to make sure I'm not losing any messages I want to see (known as "false positives"). Unlike my own rules, this program grows more rather than less effective over time. It learns the words that are most likely to occur in both spam messages and good messages, determines the probability that a message is spam, and routes it accordingly. Where my own rules were looking for particular words, Bayesian analysis allows SpamSieve to examine both the words and their contexts. Thus some of the raunchier messages I receive from old high school friends get through, while the raunchy messages from pornographers don't.

Here's one of the interesting things about this software. A lot of spam is HTML, which is the only way for it to have the animations, colors, and images that are apparently so appealing to the gullible. But SpamSieve reads all the text in a message, including the HTML coding. I know from examining its tables that it is routing a lot of stuff to the "Spam" folder because it is suspicious of its HTML coding, particularly certain colors (red seems to be popular among spammers) and the server addresses of images it uses or the presence of tables (which you often use in HTML to create margins).

But this is At The Margin, and you're probably wondering what any of this has to do with books. Just this. You might assume that book-reading audiences are unlikely to be targeted by spammers because, other things being equal, they are somewhat less gullible than the general population. I think it's a pretty defensible proposition that the more you read, the less you believe.

Lately, however, I've been getting several pieces of spam a day addressed to a particular reading audience (as opposed to a heavily indebted, lonely, undersized-penis audience). SpamSieve has bounced all these messages to the Spam folder, but when I was reviewing the junk one day prior to deleting it, a subject line caught my eye: "Iraq: The New Babylon?" The message was from somebody named "Irene," which of course means nothing. Spammers are basically ashamed of what they are doing, so they use aliases. They don't need to give you a valid return address, either, because the links in their messages allow them to track whether you've opened the message, and that's their primary success measurement.

My email program has a "preview" pane that lets me view messages without opening them, so I didn't have to give them the satisfaction in order to see what this message was about. The headline reads, "Interpreting the Signs: Will war in Iraq launch an unstoppable chain of events that lead to Armageddon?" The grammar might be dubious, but the message was a solicitation for membership in something called the "Left Behind Prophecy Club." The club is led by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, "best-selling authors of the Left Behind series, along with noted Bible historian and end times analyst Mark Hitchcock."

Here is a reading audience that defies my prediction about readers being less gullible than the general public: those who read Left Behind books. LaHaye and Jenkins, apparently dissatisfied with conning these people out of their reading dollars, are now trying to shake them down for more, by offering them memberships in this club, which predictably doesn't specify the membership fee in its solicitations. It's not surprising they would launch something like this with spam.

If you don't know about the Left Behind books, they are a bestselling series of end-time thrillers based on a 19th century interpretation of the Bible's wackiest chapter, the Book of Revelations. This interpretation, known as "premillennial dispensationalism," suggests the surrealistic vision of the Book of Revelations is not a symbolic parable intended to comfort a small group of persecuted believers but a prophecy. The Left Behind books are said to read like mainstream thrillers, only with the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the Antichrist thrown in. It may be difficult to take seriously any novel that gives a major character the name "Rayford Steele," but about 50 million copies of these books have been sold. As I write this, one of them (The Remnant) is number 33 on the New York Times paperback bestseller list (the hardback edition spent some months at the number one position on its list).

One always suspects that authors of highly commercial books are contemptuous of their readers. LaHaye and Jenkins, by trolling for their readers' email addresses with spam, validate the suspicion. These guys are despicable.

SpamSieve, by the way, runs only on Mac OS X, but there are also Windows-based programs that use Bayesian filtering. Just do a Google search on "bayesian filtering" if you're interested. Also, the mail program that Apple Computer provides free with Mac OS X (which goes by the name "Mail"), uses Bayesian filtering, if you aren't already tied into another email program.

 

3. Production Notes and Personal Stuff

Apology
If you received an issue of ATM last December, then you received the most recent one. At this point, I don't know when I will be able to get this back on a monthly schedule. I offer no excuses, only an explanation. It is difficult to make a living in the American economy these days unless you sell duct tape or premillennial dispensationalism. I seem to work more and more for less and less. At The Margin doesn't pay any of my bills, and I need to work first on projects with an actual financial return, so sometimes ATM gets moved to the rear when I get an opportunity to peddle some duct tape.

Notes on Coolidge College
If you've ever been to my website, http://www.thirdlion.com, you may have noticed there is a novel there you can download for free. It's called Coolidge College, and it's a sort of romantic comedy that takes place in a broken down liberal arts college in Vermont called Coolidge College. I wrote it in 1994, and it never saw print publication, but in the year 2000, I conceived the idea of putting it on my website and giving it away as a sort of loss leader. It has now been downloaded (since October, 2000) by 1,628 people.

What an interesting story the monthly download statistics tell! In the first four months, it averaged about a dozen downloads a month. I expected it would continue that way indefinitely. I don't do anything to advertise or promote it. But then in February, 2001, it was downloaded 218 times! The following month, the traffic dropped to about half (110), but even so it was still nearly 10 times the initial average. I couldn't understand what was going on. I checked to see what other sites might be linking to it, but I couldn't find any.

It continued to sustain that level of traffic for the next four months, averaging 97 downloads a month until July. Then the activity virtually stopped: for the next four months, it averaged only 10 downloads a month. In December of that year, it spurted up to 34, then the next month it fell back down to 8. The only pattern I could see in all this was that downloads increase in December, followed by a dip in January. I thought I could explain that with the days getting shorter and the holidays and so forth. But I couldn't explain what had happened in the spring. Then in the following spring (April, 2002), there were 27, but the following month, that figure more than doubled to 62, and for the four months after that it averaged nearly 60 a month.

Then I saw a promo for a film called National Lampoon's Van Wilder, which was released to theaters in April, 2002. It's a campus movie, and it takes place at an institution called "Coolidge College."

I am guessing that about a year before its theatrical release, people associated with the production decided to do a web search on "Coolidge College" to make sure they didn't have legal exposure with the name. I wonder if they weren't checking the feasibility of titling the film Coolidge College. They found my novel, and doubtless a number of them downloaded it and looked at it to see what possible relationship it might have to their movie. That gave me my big burst of downloads in spring of 2001. Then, the month after the film was released in 2002, there was another surge of downloads as fans of the movie searched for "Coolidge College" on the web.

The movie was released on video in August 2002, and I had a pretty good jump in September downloads as a result (from 51 the previous month to 60 -- nearly a 20% increase). Then it went to 95 in October. I don't know if that's from some ripple in the video distribution or what. But then it surged to 103 this past January, and I think that relates to the film's release to broadcast television. If I had time to study it, I could probably relate the downloads of my novel to different phases of the film's distribution: theatrical release abroad, domestic video release, video release abroad, pay-per-view release, premium channel release, broadcast channel release, and so on.

I can pretty much guarantee that people who like that movie will not like my novel, which has no smart aleck students. In fact, such students as appear in the novel are only spear carriers. It is mostly the story of how Coolidge College hires the marketing manager of a product called Bikini Light Beer to be the Dean of Admissions, and what she does to change the school's image among its prospective customers. I haven't seen National Lampoon's Van Wilder, but I'm pretty sure the humor is different.

Update on Travis
Our Great Pyrenees, Travis, is now five months beyond his diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma. He has completely recovered from both his surgery and his chemotherapy, and we have begun the extended process of paying off the bills. When he was first diagnosed, we got a credit card that we use exclusively for his bills, so we've been able to track it pretty well. He's a little ragged from all the shaving he got for various procedures (everything from ultrasound to MRI and surgery), but he has regained his appetite and has recovered his sophomoric sense of humor. (His favorite joke is to stick his nose in the backup dog's ear. She finds it very annoying.) You're not supposed to expect a cure for hemangiosarcoma, but he is certainly in remission. We had hoped the treatment would give us another six months with him, and while we're trying to be philosophical about it and manage our expectations, he shows signs of being around for longer than that. He's nine years old next month.

Update on Avenue Victor Hugo
Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop has successfully relocated to 353 Newbury Street in Boston. The move took a little longer than the staff had hoped, but the new location is operating and open for business. It's not as large as the old location, but I've been there to see it, and I can assure you it's quite inviting. It's easy to browse, and the inventory is well organized. The proceeds of the big sale in December financed the move, and the bookstore appears to have a solid future in its new location. The store's website remains at its same location: http://www.avenuevictorhugobooks.com.

 

4. Blue Underlined Words
Interesting items I've found on the web this month, not always related to books.

A Source of Humor and Predictions
The Onion isn't just a humor magazine. It's actually the web's most astute predictor of events. Its January, 2001 issue, published shortly after the presidential inauguration, ran a story with the headline: "Bush: Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity Is Finally Over." You can read it here, but I warn you. It isn't funny anymore.
http://www.theonion.com/onion3701/bush_nightmare.html

Calculate Your Body Mass Index
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of The National Institutes of Health offers a Body Mass Index calculator. You enter your height and weight, and it instantly calculates a number that can help you determine if you're underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. Body mass index is a risk factor for some types of cardiovascular disease, and the page also includes links to pages about other risk factors.
http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmicalc.htm

Rare Books for Everyone
Adobe Software, bless its corporate heart, makes PDF versions of antiquarian and rare editions available through a service called Octavo Editions. The books aren't free, but for most people they would be unobtainable otherwise. These are page-by-page pictures of the original, plus searchable text transcriptions and scholarly commentary. The one they feature on the site as I write this is William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience ($30 for the regular one, which includes side-by-side comparisons of the plates from the 1794 and 1826 editions, and $400 for the research edition, a very high-resolution image that lets you inspect the subtlest details of the binding and pages).
http://www.octavo.com/index.html

Pencil Carving
You have to see this to believe it. Mizuta Tasogare and Kato Jado carve pencils, including spirals, chains, and one that's a series of ball joints. This work is unbelievably delicate. Thanks to reader William Metcalfe for the tip on this one.
http://www.infofreako.com/jad/enpitsu-e.html

Librarian as Comic Book Hero
"The Adventures of the Librarian" is a comic at the Librarian Avengers site. The comic is pretty funny (even funnier if you're a librarian, I suspect), and the Librarian Avengers site is entertaining, too, as well as informative. It's great to see some militancy in the librarian community.
http://www.librarianavengers.com/nfcomic1.html

Very Private Sex
At The Margin doesn't generally report on new books. We prefer to encourage publishers to maintain their backlists and to promote traffic in used books. But from time to time something comes along (pun intended) that's fairly compelling. Thomas W. Laqueur's Solitary Sex: A Cultural History Of Masturbation is getting reviews everywhere (including The Economist!). It's a scholarly book of over 500 pages. I haven't read it myself yet. The Chronicle of Higher Education published a profile of the author in its free section, and the article discusses the origins of masturbatory guilt, which apparently dates from the 18th century.
http://chronicle.com/free/v49/i26/26a01401.htm

 

5. Email to the Editor
Editor's Note: The messages we receive here at ATM often take on the character of a dialogue or conversation with the previous issue. You can find that issue on the web: http://www.thirdlion.com/ATM35.html.

The Lists in Last Issue's Email to the Editor Department
The two that we offered were firstly, Stanfield, Brine &c., The Tolpuddle Martyrs. Perhaps American readers will be unfamiliar with the fate suffered by the Agricultural Labourers from Dorset, who, headed by George Loveless formed a union in 1834. After the nastiest of fixed trials, they were sentenced to seven years' transportation. Australia was still receiving convicts at the time. They of course are renowned in English Trade Union history.

The second list is of families on the South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha. The Glasses, Hagens, Swains & Rogers are the descendants of a garrison put on the island in 1815/16 to 'keep an eye on' Napoleon, who was exiled to St. Helena, a mere 1500 miles away. The Lavarello and Repetto families are descended from shipwrecked (& lucky) sailors. Linguistically, they're very interesting, since their English is sometimes pronounced very much as it was during the early nineteenth century. Werry interesting.

Bryan, Homer & Sampson

Sheep Have Nothing on Cows in the Poetry Department
Happy New Year. Dave and I really enjoyed perusing despair.com. Dave tells me that the sheep lady must share her glory though. A student at SUNY Purchase has recently done the same with cows. There is an article at http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/Northeast/12/02/offbeat.cow.art.ap/ about it. [Editor's Note: I checked and CNN.com seems to have taken the article down. Sorry.]

"One animal seemed especially inspired -- with 'away' written on her side, she broke loose from the herd for a while."

Regards
Cassandra

The Premises of Sheep Poetry
O! poetic sheep!
And what, perchance, would thy warm, literary coats
Have composed for dumbfounded humans
Had, on thy woolly white hides been painted
"Hate", "Mankind", "Kill" "$%#@!", "Rage", "Idiot", and "Putrid-filled"?

(Thanks for At The Margin! I was introducted to ATM by Cortney Skinner and have thoroughly enjoyed it!)

Elizabeth

At The Margin has 1,105 subscribers, most of whom are interested in what you have to say about books or items you have read in ATM. Send a message to the editor and get those thoughts out to 1,104 others. Please limit your comment to 200 words and send it to ATM's editor, Floyd Kemske (fkemske@thirdlion.com).

 

6. Do You Know Me?
For those who like puzzles as well as books, this department brings you the first sentence of a book that is at least 10 years old. The name of the author and title of the book will be in the next issue, so write your guess down. If you want to send me your guess, email it to fkemske@thirdlion.com. Please include your name (so I can congratulate you in this space if you're correct) and let me know if you recognized the writer's style or if you know the book, or both.

This Issue's Sentence:

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.

I'm waiting for your guesses.

Last Issue's Sentence:

James MacFadden died in March 1905 when he was forty-seven years old; he was riding in the Driffield Point to Point.

One reader guessed Mine Eyes Have Seen, a historical romance by Tom Langley published in 1981. That may be correct. I don't know, since I haven't seen Langley's book, but the book I was looking for is A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. I was surprised that no less than four readers were able to identify the book from that line: John Byford, Barbara Haven, Liz Hogan, and Kim Laird.

John Byford noted, "I'd put that opening line in the top twenty of first lines, not far off 'The past is another country....' -- plus the association with the origin of the word point-to-point (and steeple-chasing) from the mid 19th century when it was popular in Ireland for horse races to be run from church to church, which invariably had spires (or points/steeples) rather than towers. Strange how the mind remembers such trivial details; something to do with the ageing process I guess."

And Barbara Haven informed us, "I heard of point-to-point races in England, where I saw Point-To-Point magazine that still exists and is seasonal -- 'Dedicated to enthusiasts of horses who race in point-to-points and hunter chase races in the UK and Ireland, a seasonal magazine available from December to May.'"

As always, ATM readers are a reliable source of interesting information.

At any rate, I thought that first line would be a real stumper because it has so little to do with the story. When James MacFadden died in that race, he left his estate to his son Douglas. Thirty years later, Douglas made out a will with the help of an attorney named Stachan. More than ten years after that, Douglas died, and when the will was executed, Strachan discovered that the last living relative was a young file clerk named Jean Paget, recently repatriated to England after having spent World War II in Japanese custody. The story doesn't actually even start until Strachan finds Jean Paget, about 10 pages into the book. All the MacFaddens are simply backstory, and not even important backstory, except for Douglas's prejudices against the financial acumen of women, which caused him to leave his estate in trust if the inheritor should be female.

A Town Like Alice (which is also known as The Legacy) was published in 1950. It is the story of Jean Paget, who -- living in Malaysia at the outbreak of World War II -- was detained with a number of other civilian women and children by the Japanese. The Japanese army unit that detained them had no place to put them, so they were told to march to the headquarters of another unit, where they would be accommodated. After a difficult march, during which some of them died, they arrived at the next unit, which had no place for them and sent them on to another unit. They marched about Malaysia in this manner until there were only a handful of them left, at which point they were able to settle unobtrusively in a Malay village and work among the villagers in the rice fields for the rest of the war.

The story of the marching and the hardships occupies the first half of the book, as Jean Paget relates it to the lawyer Strachan. The second half of the book is taken up with her use of her new inheritance: she travels to Malaysia to dig a well at the village where she and her compatriots were finally given shelter.

Many people who read this book consider it a curious fusion of two different stories: one about the hardships endured by some European women forced to march around Malaysia and one about Jean Paget's postwar travels in Asia and Australia, a story that is an order of magnitude less exciting than the first one. But, as I think about it, the book strikes a very interesting balance. The first part is an intense physical adventure and, because it is in the story's "past," it doesn't have much emotional impact on the characters (although it has tremendous impact on the reader). The second part of the book is an intense emotional adventure that doesn't have much physical impact on the characters.

Nevil Shute was born Nevil Shute Norway in Ealing in 1899. When he started writing fiction, he abbreviated his name because he thought that being a novelist might jeopardize his career as an aeronautical engineer. He was the son of an important postal official. From his youth he showed a passionate interest in aeronautics. His parents sent him away to school when he was caught truant from the local school, having spent several days at the South Kensington Science Museum studying engines and wing controls.

He happened to be in Dublin during the Easter rising in 1916, and gained a commendation for gallant conduct as a stretcher bearer.

He had a stammer his entire life, but it never seems to have held him back in any way. He was always well-regarded socially, stammer and all. He graduated from Balliol College, Oxford in 1922, with an honors degree in engineering science. During his vacations he worked without pay for aircraft manufacturers. After college, he took a job with one of the more famous ones, De Havillands. He wrote novels and short stories at night and began collecting rejection slips. In 1924, he took a job with the Airship Guarantee Company. He believed passionately in the future of airships, but the 1930 crash of the R101 was a great setback for the industry. Nevil Shute had been working on the R101's sister ship at the time (the R100) and he had close knowledge of the R101's construction inefficiencies, which he thought bordered on the criminal. It made him bitter toward the politicians and bureaucrats he considered responsible for the disaster. He left the firm and started his own aeroplane manufacturing company, Airspeed Ltd., in 1931.

Nevil Shute was happy running a shoestring aircraft manufacturer and spent seven years at it. But when the company became successful building airplanes for the government, and he began to achieve some success as a novelist, he left. The year after he left (1939) saw the outbreak of war, and he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve to build experimental weapons. When the war ended, he emigrated to Australia in 1945, believing the spirit of independence was dying in Britain and that he was overtaxed. He lived in Australia until he died in 1960, leaving a wife and two daughters.

His first novel, Marazan (no link), was published in 1926. He had 22 novels and an autobiography (Slide Rule: The Autobiography of an Engineer -- no link) published in the course of his life, and then another novel (Seafarers 1947 -- no link) was published posthumously in 2002. In addition to A Town Like Alice, his better known novels include

He is probably best known for On the Beach, which was made into a film starring Gregory Peck. But most of his fans love Trustee from the Toolroom above all the others.

I haven't read all of Nevil Shute's novels, but I've read a half dozen or more, and what strikes me about them is that they are all about the same thing: ordinary people facing extraordinary situations and dealing with them in a quietly heroic way. On the Beach, for example, which -- as a post-atomic war story -- might be thought his most outsized novel, is about the last survivors of the final war, living in Australia and waiting to be overcome by drifting radioactivity. They plant their gardens, knowing that they won't be around to harvest them, go to their jobs every day, and even as they face the waning days of their lives, maintain the kind of sexual decorum that used to be considered "middle class."

I have never read a Nevil Shute novel that did not thoroughly captivate me.

In doing my research to write about him, I didn't have to go far. The website of the Nevil Shute Foundation (http://www.nevilshute.org/) has far more information than I could use. It includes several biographies, a 25-page timeline of his life, a bibliography, reviews, an essay or two by Nevil Shute himself, a filmography, and news. This is where I learned that Nevil Shute fans call themselves "Shutists." The purpose of the foundation is "to further public awareness of the writings and philosophy of Nevil Shute Norway." And if you are a Nevil Shute devotee, you MUST visit this place. Among other public services, the foundation offers a lending library by mail of hardbound and paperback books, audio books, videos of films based on Nevil Shute novels, and even copies of his unpublished manuscripts!


If you liked this issue of At The Margin, forward it to a friend, and encourage him or her to subscribe.

At The Margin is a learning project of novelist Floyd Kemske. He is committed to keeping it free for readers who enjoy it. But if you are moved somehow to support what he's doing, consider ordering one of his books. You can read the first chapter of any of his novels at his website: http://www.thirdlion.com/, or you can order one right now through one of these links:

Human Resources
It's a tough job when your new boss is a vampire

Labor Day
A renegade union organizer tries to unionize a union

Lifetime Employment
Life in a company where murder is the only path to promotion

The Virtual Boss
The boss is only software, but he still acts like a bastard

The Third Lion
A novel about the lies and loves of the incomparable Talleyrand

Write On Target (Nonfiction)
A guide to writing copy for direct marketing

At The Margin aims for monthly publication but is charmingly erratic.

(c) Copyright 2003 Floyd Kemske

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